2011-2012 has been an emotional 12 months for us

We became kiwi citizens. Our kids, Ben and Beth survived the Christchurch earthquakes. I lost my mum and brother, Brian, to cancer in the same week. We sold our outdoor activity business in Hanmer Springs that we had run for ten years. We ran the Forest Camp as managers and we will celebrate 30 years of marriage.

It has been a time of intense emotions and hard work but a great network of friends and family has supported us.

Losing Brian at the age of 60 has convinced me that we have to “live life for today”. With that in mind Steve and I have decided that the best way to celebrate surviving, being kiwis and the “life of Brian” is to walk the length of New Zealand. Now here is the irony, Brian would be convinced that we are finally, totally and unreservedly barking mad!

Thanks to Ben and Beth for their support to let us go, to Sharon and Serge our Hanmer backstops and to Shalane for inspiration.

Follow us on our journey – meet us on the way with tea and scones, walk a section with us, join us for a beer or just support our cause and donate to Cancer research!

Feel free to add comments to our blog below, just click on "comments" below the blog entry and write in the box then add your name or be anonymous!!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Queen Charlotte Track

Looking out over the Sounds.
Benched tracks rule ok!!  What a pleasure to walk with no mud and roots and to be able to look at the views. It was great to have Dee and Pippa with us for company - for their story - a 4 year voyage to New Zealand in a 31 foot yacht, and an interesting read go to:  sula blog.

The Queen Charlotte Track is a 3-4 day walk in the Marlborough Sounds and a great introduction to multi-day tramping. A variety of accommodation options are available, you do not have to camp! Even better you can send your packs ahead on the water taxi - Luxury!!!!
We are now basking in the sun in Havelock having done the link tracks and are poised to set off on the 9-10 day crossing of the Richmond Hills tomorrow. Our heaviest packs yet and hopefully enough food , just part of the Te Araroa weight loss programme!!   

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

North Island accomplished - big tick yee ha!!

82 walking days, 1620kms and $4529 raised for Cancer Research. 

Island Bay, end of North Island.

Palmerston North to Wellington.

Since our last post we did 3 great day walks to get to the start of the awesome 6 day Tararua Crossing. From Palmy it really is lovely walking on some great tracks including the Burtton Track and the Mangahoa to Mangahiki Tracks. You start the Tararua journey above Levin at Poads Road and your first day takes you up to the Waiophu Hut then to the Te Matawai, Nichols and YTYY huts. Going over ridge lines all the way with the main summit climbed being Mt Crawford. 

On top of the Tararua Ridge

You eventually pop out at Otaki Forks. The last day takes you the up and over the Puketua range. After a 6 hr grunt you pop out on a road and have an 11k walk down to Waikanae and the Kapiti Coast. During the Tararua trip we had hail storms, frozen mud, icy tracks, pouring rain, swirling mists, strong winds and lovely hot sunshine!!! We had it all.

Nichols Hut

It was also great to meet Phil from UK, John from Riverton and Ron from Aberdeen. They were all doing Te Araroa and on their own. It was nice to share stories and experiences. John at 59 was an inspiration. Phil was a walking machine. It was like unleashing a greyhound. Ron had done all the best bits of N.Island and was finishing after Queen Charlotte. Good on them all. The Tararuas are not for the faint hearted. We were challenged and it has set us up well for the South Island.

Pukerua Bay, Kapiti Coast.

We took 3 days to get to Windy Wellington down the Kapiti coast. We owe a very big thanks to Garth from Outdoors NZ and his family for all their help and support on this section. They live in Pukearua Bay where we stayed for a couple of nights plus the office floor of Outdoors NZ in the capital. There was a strange irony eating our backcountry porridge in the ONZ office!!
We literally bumped into the radio mast on Colonial Knob as it was so misty and encountered our heaviest winds on Mt Kaukau. On to Botanical Gardens. There was then 11kms of the hilliest terrain to Island Bay on the South Coast we we put our feet in sea where we could see South Island beckoning. Only  1420kms to go. 

Looking forward to meeting up with Dee and Pippa our long lost friends from UK. For those who don’t know Dee and Pippa sailed away from Pembrokeshire in Wales 4 years ago and have eventually made it to NZ. Their journey is immense. Will fill you in on the next blog. They are going to do Queen Charlotte with us but only one problem. They have no leg muscles after so long on a boat!!!

We are looking forward to 2 days off in Havelock before launching ourselves at the 10 day crossing of Richmond Hills. Anyone out there keen to either join us or re-supply us at the Hackett Hut or be a Sherpa!!  Approx 2nd/3rd Feb at Hackett. Approach from Anniseed Valley??  Hope to be dropping in to Hanmer around 18th/19th Feb. Cheery bye
Steve and Lynne

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Happy New Year

Guess what we got for Christmas!!
We hope that you all had a great Christmas and that 2013 will be a good year for you.
We had a great break with Steve`s family over Xmas and started walking again on the 27th December.

Wind blasted in South Crater.

We returned to Tongariro National Park to do the crossing which was closed when we passed through last time due to minor eruptions. Tongariro behaved itself this time but we could only access the mountain from the South side and go to the Red Crater rim and back. We got the views together with 500 other people and gale force winds. From never seeing another soul on the Te Araroa this was a bit of a shock to the system. It really is a spectacular walk. I sat on the crater rim at 1800m - freezing cold in the strong wind but the shingle was too hot too sit on with warm steam wafting across my face!! Do not listen to Steve who said it was more to do with last nights curry and not volcanic activity.
 We also could not resist adding the new Timber Trail cycling route through the Pureora Forest with its new suspension bridges and the use of the old railway trail down into Ongarue. A magnificent track and a must for all you cyclists out there.

So onto Wanganui or Whangunui......who knows?? To start again where we had left off. The next section to to Palmerston North is 105k mostly on the roads!! This has been hard yakka in the hot weather. We really enjoyed visiting Turakina beach and its two lovely art galleries then onto the unbelievabull Bulls to Fielding, Bunneythorpe and beyond. We arrived early one morning in Bunneythorpe to find the local Dairy closed but the sign on the door said open at 8am. It was 8.15 ish!! We sat under a shady tree for a break and at 9am the shop opened. When I went across the guy said that yes although the sign says 8 he always opens at 9!! Rural NZ eh??

A very welcome cold beer.

We are now in Palmerston North with Craig and Christine, thanks for your hospitality guys and for the drop offs looking forward to seeing you in Hanmer one day.
Looking forward to the Tararuas next and getting off the tar seal!! Just broke through 1400kms, still not quite halfway!!

Just broken through $4000 raised for Cancer Research. Remember you can click on the Cancer Research donate button to see who has donated. It doesn't commit you to a donation. Thanks to everyone who has donated.